Teams can still appeal to play at a lower level.
Quarterback Tyler Williams led the Nighthawks to 23 victories and a state title in two seasons as a starter. He produced a total of 57 TDs.
Ironwood Ridge's John Klass, left, celebrates Division II state title after a 27-3 victory over Centennial at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. (Ralph Freso/For the Daily Star)
Matt Johnson stood at the 50-yard line at Sun Devil Stadium, holding the Division II state championship trophy like he would a newborn child - cradled in between his left arm and stomach.
Somewhere between Saturday's on-field trophy presentation, a celebratory dinner at a Phoenix In-N-Out Burger and a midnight ride to Tucson, Matt Johnson thought back to all the bills he had paid.
Ironwood Ridge defensive back John Klass stops Centennial running back Jalen Ortiz during the first quarter of the Division II state championship football game at Sun Devil Stadium.
TEMPE - Peoria Centennial had six turnovers in its first game against Ironwood Ridge this season, a 28-24 loss.
Running back Anthony Braunreiter says having his dad on the Ironwood Ridge coaching staff is "awesome" and "always helpful."
Ironwood Ridge's Anthony Braunreiter had a low key Thanksgiving.
GILBERT - When Ironwood Ridge quarterback Tyler Williams dropped to a knee on his team's final play to seal a 35-21 victory over Tempe Marcos de Niza at Gilbert Campo Verde in the Division II semifinals, no wild celebration followed.
Ironwood Ridge's Tyler Williams is stopped by two Tempe Marcos de Niza defenders during the first half. Williams rushed for 143 yards on 23 carries.
Ironwood Ridge running back Anthony Braunreiter doesn't pass the eye test.
Ironwood Ridge running back Anthony Braunreiter isn't especially tall or big, but he scores high marks in smarts, effort and strength.
Ironwood Ridge running back Anthony Braunreiter doesn’t pass the eye test.
Win and play for a state championship. Lose and go home.
Ironwood Ridge quarterback Tyler Williams runs through the Glendale Apollo defense for a 10-yard touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half.
Kylen Green (5) of Ironwood Ridge plans his route around Apollo's John Klass on a first-half run at Ironwood Ridge High School.
It would have been nearly impossible for Ironwood Ridge coach Matt Johnson to imagine a worse start to Friday's Division II quarterfinal game.